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MN sex offender allegedly caught trying to solicit teen online

Police say that online solicitation of minors "continues to be a statewide problem."

A west-central Minnesota sex offender is facing charges of attempting to solicit a child online for sex. 

The Pope County Sheriff's Office says the suspect, a 40-year-old who lives in Starbuck, used social media to solicit someone he believed to be "a juvenile under the age of 15" — not knowing he was actually talking to a local deputy posing as a teen.

He was arrested on Monday after traveling "to a location in the City of Starbuck to meet up with the juvenile for the purposes of sexual contact."

The release says the man also sent the "juvenile" photographs of himself, which "related to or described sexual conduct."

He's described as a Level 3 sex offender, which is considered "the highest risk to re-offend," according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections. 

State records show his criminal background includes "a history of sexual contact with adolescent female victims (age 13-15)." He's been out of prison for less than two years, and has been living on supervised release.

The suspect made a court appearance on Wednesday, but hasn't been officially charged yet. Bring Me The News does not typically name suspects until charges have been filed against them.

"Sexual exploitation of our youth and online solicitation of minors continues to be a statewide problem," the Pope County Sheriff's Office says, adding that they, as well as the Starbuck and Glenwood Police Departments, "are working diligently to address the issue within our local communities."

The Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the West Central Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, and the Minnesota State Patrol assisted in the investigation. 

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